The Jacksonville Jaguars will likely be thin at outside linebacker coming into free agency. Franchise tackle leader Daryl Smith could walk away from the team after missing all but two games in 2012 and the team displayed poor depth when missing Smith and Clint Session during the season. Russell Allen did well stepping up to the plate but showed he isn’t at full starter level just yet. So, excluding Smith, who can the Jags pick up to surround middle linebacker Paul Posluszny?
Here are some ideas if the team decides to fill in the holes during free agency:
- 2012 Team: Oakland Raiders
- Why: While Wheeler may wind up with the Raiders again, the Jags could really make a serious play for his services. Wheeler is just 28 and would be an instant starter with the Jaguars for a little while at least. He has good range and was consistently playing at a level well above Jaguar outside linebackers all season. He had 44 defensive stops in 2012, a vast improvement over the abysmal performances from Jags linebackers.
- 2012 Team: Minnesota Vikings
- Why: I personally like the way Henderson plays, but I may be over-inundated on Vikings football, being in Minnesota and all. He doesn’t grade out super well (at least not according to Pro Football Focus) but he should be a less expensive option at outside linebacker if the Jaguars are looking for a young veteran player. A college free agent entering the league, Henderson is a hard worker who has fought into the starting lineup. He won’t be a difference maker but plays well with talent around him.
- 2012 Team: Detroit Lions
- Why: A familiar name to many Jaguars fans, Durant was with the Jaguars from 2007-2010. He was never on the field for a whole season and many were glad to see him go after 2010, but seems to have matured during his two seasons in Detroit. He is a versatile player (played middle linebacker for the Jags in 2009) and put on a tackling clinic for the Lions in 2012. He is a starter-caliber player who finally played in all 16 games for the first time in his career in 2012. His 49 defensive stops would be a major help to the Jaguars.
- Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims